It seems I’m still on the SELF bandwagon. I’m continually bombarded with the inability of many people, and many Christians, to control this ugly monster. I want to figure out how to help others beat it. (The problem is that most SELFish people don’t see that as their problem!)
I once discussed SELF with a prominent pastor who I highly admire, claiming that I thought selfishness was the root of most problems in marriage. I told him I wanted to find out how to break through this barrier that kept people apart from God and a healthy relationship with their spouse. I eagerly awaited his wise and respectable answer. He said to me, “Good luck with that. Let me know when you figure it out.”
It’s a mystery to me how some people naturally put others needs ahead of their own, never stopping to think of their own desires of SELF. And then there are other people who are totally caught up in their SELF, and wouldn’t even consider how another person could need help.
Our life journey is a school where God builds up our faith and character. He’s purifying us to become more like Him. Our SELF can interfere very quickly with our studies and cause problems to multiply and seem insurmountable.
Sometimes our human trials are too much for our SELVES to bear. (Or so we may think.) That’s why people quit in marriage. They can’t take it. They don’t want to go through the process of improving. It’s too difficult. SELF doesn’t want to face struggles.
When you give up, you give in to SELF.
James 1: 2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
It is not always easy to face our trials with pure joy no matter how strong our faith or how dedicated our perseverance. This is when SELF gets in the way. You can’t experience pure joy when your SELFish desires are fighting for control.
The amount of joy we feel should not be our concern, though. (Although we often waste too much time feeling guilty for how we handle our struggles.) Our focus in life should be our “faith that develops perseverance to finish our work (or Gods plans for our lives) so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
If we don’t persevere we will not complete the will God has for our life. We will not be successful in our marriage as God intends us to be. We will not become mature and complete, lacking nothing.
When we are in the midst of trials, we need to look up to God – not dwell on what our SELF wants. He knows the end of the story. We can’t quit in the middle of it or we will miss out on the blessings He has planned for us.